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Long term or short term?

Posted by jollyrd (My Page) on
Fri, May 31, 13 at 12:03

We've lived in the house for 4 years before the first baby came along. I thought I had it well organized - my cleaning supplies, pantry shelves, laundry room, paper filing system, etc. -- it all seemed to work well. Now with the toddler in the house, (and who knows maybe more kids in the future), I am constantly in need of changing and reorganization. The things I need to store, to access quickly, to protect from child's access - they all affect every single room/area in the house.

I am thinking about going through the house area by area and redifining / reorganizing as needed. But then I stop and think - "our needs will be different in few years. how often do I reorganize my organization system?"

So my question is - how do you organize your house keeping in mind you need to grow with kids? Do you do it based on what your needs are today/this year, and then revisit it again next year? Or do you have a system that worked for years regardless of kids' age? What worked for you?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Long term or short term?

You constantly rethink and tweak!


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RE: Long term or short term?

I just lived with stuff that was sub-optimal, that's how I did it. I was lucky, w/ toddlers, in that we were seldom home so they didn't have lots of time to be bored and get into stuff.

And my kids were not the "explore all the corners and rip everything apart" kind of kids.

And otherwise, we just are always behind.

We're currently storing Hot Wheels and a kiddie kitchen--and my kids are 15 and 19.


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RE: Long term or short term?

When my boys were toddlers I didn't have enough stuff to bother with organizing. All I did was make it safe for them by putting dangerous things on high shelves.


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RE: Long term or short term?

I think it's a constant evolution.

It's not just adding a child to the family. It's every change in lifestyle or possessions that you make.

Buy a new flat-screen TV. The TV armoire for the old-style TV now doesn't work, so you buy a new TV console. But now all the DVDs and video games you stored in the old armoire don't fit in the console, so you need to make room for them somewhere else.

Before kids, my brother and sister-in-law when hiking and camping a lot. Then the kids came. Now they have a lot of bicycles and wagons and picnic gear, but they haven't been camping in 13 years. They think the youngest is ready to camp, so they are going to try that this summer, which means getting the camping gear out of the attic and basement and back into the garage.

You start a new hobby, you stop an old one. You move to a new house and the kitchen organization you had in your last kitchen simply doesn't work in the new one. You ditch your glasses and get contacts and now you need cleaning supplies and a place to store them.

Once I realized organization is an on-going process and not one with definite start and stop times, it became easier. In part because I realized things don't have to be perfect. There's always the opportunity to come back and fix things.

Kids do make it tougher--they change and grow so quickly that the timing of the organization changes is taken out of your control. You have to baby-proof when the kid starts moving around. You have to find a place for their food and clothing and diapers and toys. And you have to do this while all your time is being spent caring for the child. So it can get overwhelming and complicated.

You can do some planning ahead--getting a change table that will work as a dresser until the child is in high school, for example. But you will still need to purge the clothing as the seasons change and the child grows.


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RE: Long term or short term?

Totally agree with what Camlan said.

And if it makes you feel any better, I currently have art supplies in a kitchen cabinet, and playdough and toys in part of my china cabinet. :) And I'm totally fine with it, because it works right now with my 3-year-old.


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RE: Long term or short term?

I love this:

"Once I realized organization is an on-going process and not one with definite start and stop times, it became easier. In part because I realized things don't have to be perfect. There's always the opportunity to come back and fix things."

(this is also how I think of laundry--it's a stream, and your job is to control the flow. It's a not a one-time, static task.)


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RE: Long term or short term?

When my kids were little, I put "organizing" on hold. I was working outside the home 50-60 hours a week. My main focus was keeping my children safe, baby-proofing, keeping tools and chemicals stored safely out of reach, etc. I did keep my existing filing system. I kept paperwork like taxes, bills, guarantees, important papers in a file cabinet. I didn't do much "tweaking". In the younger years. As far as housework, I did mainly three things, called "The Three D's"- dinner, dishes, duds. That is, cooking healthy meals, clean up after dinner, and keep laundry done. The only time I did a full-house clean up was when company was coming!


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RE: Long term or short term?

Once I realized organization is an on-going process and not one with definite start and stop times, it became easier. In part because I realized things don't have to be perfect. There's always the opportunity to come back and fix things.

That is profound ...

But to get to the OP's question, there are really two organizations in play ... the permanent and the evolving.

Permanent: Things stored near point of use because it just works. Like the toilet paper under the bathroom sink, the first aid kit in the hall closet, the small set of tools in the desk drawer ... they have a place and they are in them!

Evolving: Actually, your organization is more like "punctuated evolution" ... flurries of change followed by a period where not much happens.

You see cascades of change:
... installed range with microwave/hood combo ... the old microwave went to charity, and the stuff on the countertops shuffled to adjust. Then we realized that we really MISSED the tiny little oven that had been on the old stove (it died) for cooking small things and bought a countertop convection broiler oven ... things shuffled again.

When I finally get the #@$!%% cabinets for the kitchen built, there will be a HUGE reorg to get things where they need to be, then it will be calm for a while.

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You will see events that force a major change: Arrival of baby. Baby becomes mobile. Baby becomes toddler (arrange things so toddler can be as independent as possible, clean up after self, hang up own things) ... start of school years ... summer vacations.

Just deal with it, and if something isn't working, change it.


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RE: Long term or short term?

Wow, So many of you said the things that are bugging me all day! And I agree and accept the view point of 'evolving' organization.

My problem is ...I can't get over the thought of all the holes I want to drill in the walls to install various 'organization' shelves (for books and stuff), cabinets to store extra chemicals/laundry liquids, hooks (for diaper bag now, and school bags later in years), etc. I hate to drill holes that I know will have to be patched later!


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RE: Long term or short term?

None of those sound short term.... drill away!


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RE: Long term or short term?

The truth in *my* life would be that those things, once installed, would never go away, even if they ended up being in the way. It would just be too much trouble to take them back out.

So I'd say "go ahead and install."

I'm w/ LuAnn--none of those things sounds like something that's only useful for about 3 years.

And frankly, even 3 years of great functionality is TOTALLY worth the hole in the wall.


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RE: Long term or short term?

a lot of those things won't be removed they'll just get used for other things later, and when a room is due for painting you just remove what you want then and patch before you paint.


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RE: Long term or short term?

Thanks! Going to go up to the attic and find some pieces to hang! I do use a lot of Command hooks, and I think I got too used to that idea. Just put three of them over the bed to hang 3-piece art over the headboard.


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RE: Long term or short term?

hey, Command hooks are da bomb!

Because, well, you don't have to get the drill out.

of course, sometimes there is a need for something stronger.

Good luck hanging stuff up!


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RE: Long term or short term?

Yesterday I installed a coat rack in the utlity room, and a spice rack in the guest bathroom - I know, weird. But that 3 tier spice rack seems like a good solution to use for all the little cream and lotion bottles that guests need to find a place for, while keeping it off the small counter space.

Drilled 8 holes total!!


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RE: Long term or short term?

My drawers and closets are all full. Ditto my attic and garage. The only "space" left are my walls. so I'm going vertical-hanging hooks and open shelving.


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RE: Long term or short term?

Amen, Jannie. I keep looking at those 4 ft of white wall space all over the house and get frustrated that they are not used for a good cause!!!


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RE: Long term or short term?

Jollyrd, your storage doesn't have to have as short a life span as you are thinking.

It does take a little planning ahead though. For example, if you want hooks that your kids can hang their coats on, and you want to use those hooks for as long as possible, then maybe you hang them a little higher than you would ordinarily do so. That way the hooks aren't too low in two years. The kids maybe have to use a step stool for a year or two. And don't choose babyish-looking or cartoon-themed hooks that the kids will outgrow in no time. Just get plain, ordinary hooks.

OR

You can plan an alternative future use for the hooks. They will be used for coats for the kids now, but sports equipment when they get older. You can then install new hooks up higher, and hang a net bag for baseballs and tennis balls, etc.


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RE: Long term or short term?

Organizing rooms and home is a continuous process. You have to keep on thinking new and innovative ideas keeping your children in mind. Though it is time-consuming, you will enjoy doing this.


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RE: Long term or short term?

I love organizing my rooms in every 2/3 months. Few things need to be discarded, while we have add a few. I like rearranging things.


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RE: Long term or short term?

I follow Fly Lady, and due to her prompting, am constantly de-junking one room or another. What is amazing is how readily I can always find stuff to get rid of, even if I just dejunked the room recently. As I pare down my possessions, it becomes clearer that I can live quite happily with even less.

And being at the other side of the child-accumulation phase of life where now I am trying to get rid of toys, I must admit that I really regret over-buying toys for my children. This was a long term habit that did not serve anyone well. I wish I had a focused vision of a simple lifestyle when my older children were babies and toddlers.


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RE: Long term or short term?

My kids are now 19, 18, and 15 with the oldest 2 away at college.

I had to purge every 3 months as they were growing. They outgrew clothing every season, and tired of toys quickly. It was also necessary to clean them out right before birthdays and Christmas when they received a ton of new things.

The larger expensive items (playpen, high chair, swing, etc), I placed in my parents' huge attic until I was sure I was done having kids......then they ended up going to my sister who was a decade behind me having her children.


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